I can't believe it, but last night was the last class of Leadership Communication! The past 6 weeks have flown by, and I have loved the course. Leadership Comms is an experiential learning course that each week involved a 3 hour class - 1 hour of lecture, followed by 2 hours of lab in groups of 10 with a graduate student instructor where each week we practiced improvisation and presented 3 minute speeches aimed at informing, persuading and inspiring.
Coming from an engineering and consulting background, I have been enjoying the opportunity to learn about and practice 'soft skills' that are essential for leadership, along with the analytic mindset that I am more familiar with. In the lectures, we have learned about how to be an authentic speaker, listen actively, and how to convey leadership presence and confidence through small changes to our body language, posture, tone and pace.
In my lab group of 10, there were people from a range of backgrounds, with varying levels of public speaking experience coming into the course - including a few who spoke English as a second language. Through taking 'expressive risks' when delivering our speeches, receiving constructive feedback from the group in a safe environment, and reviewing videos of our speeches (yes, the are taped which was a little daunting at first) I was amazed to see the level of improvement in both my own delivery, and that of everyone else in the group. I was impressed by how open everyone was (some topics were quite personal), and how we got to know and trust each other. Our final speeches this week were truly inspirational.
Next week we have finals for our other 3 fall A courses. I'm looking forward to all that Fall B has to offer!